Cutting Air Pollution Can Prevent Future Deaths Like Death Of Schoolgirl Ella

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Originally published on Transport & Environment.
By Sam Hargreaves

Future deaths like that of schoolgirl Ella Adoo Kissi Debrah are preventable, says the coroner’s report following her death. It recommends that legally binding targets match World Health Organization guidelines for air pollution, which, Transport & Environment (T&E) says, the government has repeatedly opposed. Delays in reducing air pollution will cause further deaths if action isn’t taken now, the group warns.

Greg Archer, UK director at T&E, said: “Ella’s tragic death is a reminder of the risks vulnerable people face in our polluted cities. The Government must act on the advice of the coroner and include the WHO limits for fine particles in the Environment Bill. We must stop children dying from breathing toxic air. By taking this small, but important, step the Prime Minister will ensure many parents sleep easier.”

Public Health England estimates between 28,000 and 36,000 people die prematurely in the UK as a result of air pollution every year. If the government ignores the advice of the coroner there will continue to be many more tragedies like Ella’s in the coming years, says T&E.

The coroner’s report also highlights serious failings in the way the public are informed about dangerous levels of air pollution. The coroner warned “there is a low public awareness of the sources of information about national and local pollution levels.” He added “greater awareness would help individuals reduce their personal exposure to air pollution.” The Department for the Environment and local authorities have been arguing about who is responsible for informing the public about high levels of pollution. T&E says a coordinated public information campaign is needed.

Featured photo by Lucas Davies on Unsplash

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